One factor, which affects learning, is attention. Attention is always present in conscious life and is common to all types of mental activity. It is the characteristic of all conscious life. Every activity of yours is based on interest and attention. You can succeed in achieving your goals only when your attention is directed towards learning.
Attention is defined as the act of selective consciousness- by Ross
Dumville defined Attention as the concentration of consciousness upon one subject rather than another.
Characteristics of Attention
Ø Attention is focusing consciousness on one object. One object is the focus of attention. All other objects are in the margin of attention. (Right now, what is the focus of your attention? what objects are in the margin of your attention?)
Ø Attention is selective. We choose to attend to one object in preference to others.
Ø Attention is constantly shifting from focus to margin
Ø Attention is a state of preparedness where the muscles and sense organs ready themselves for attending
Ø Attention cannot be divided between two mental tasks.
Types of Attention
a person actively searches out information that has personal relevance
a person selectively focuses attention on relevant information
A person automatically focuses on some activity
- e.g.: A mother even while working, is aware of her infant child‘s crying & attends to the child.
Several factors affect attention. These are factors inherent in the object of attention
1. Movement: An animated picture elicits more attention than a still picture
2. Size of an object: Large letters attract more attention than tiny font.
3. Contrast: Dark letters stand out against a light background.
4. Colour: Colours, especially bright ones, gain more attention than drab colours
5. Novelty: A new gimmick in advertising is an instant hit
6. Change in stimuli: If the clock suddenly stops its ticking, it is likely to attract attention. If a teacher pauses in the midst of the lecture, the students are likely to pay more attention to the next few words
7. Intensity: A glaring light, sharp sound, fluorescent markers serve as attention grabbers.
8. Repetition: Words of a song that are repeated or words in a lecture that are repeated attract attention.
Significance of Attention
Attention is a basic need for all types of learning. Every moment, an individual is attracted by many stimuli of the environment. He is not able to concentrate on all the stimuli at the same time. It is because of attention that he can concentrate on important aspect of a single object.
Consider a classroom, where there are lot of things like, desk, bench, chalk, black board, duster, fan and charts. When a teacher shows you a particular chart, the student pays attention to that. It shifts the focus of learner to the chart. This helps them to learn more about it.
Therefore, it can be said that attention?
Arouses interest in learners to learn a particular thing. Increases efficiency of the learner
Motivates learners to learn more Make the learners ready to learn
Brings a state of alertness in learners for doing task Helps the learner to perceive events or ideas.
Thus, attention is a necessary condition for any task in the classroom. It is the hub of the entire learning process. It is essential for learning as well as understanding well. Attention is an essential factor for teachers as well as students. If you are attentive in classroom, you are fully prepared to receive any stimulus. It enables you to learn properly within a period. It helps you to achieve the target within short period and with reasonable amount of effort.